- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 21 Apr 2017
Considerations when specifying and installing an office lift
A lift is arguably the spine of any building. As well as providing structural support, it offers access and transportation to occupants. Careful planning is essential when installing a new lift, needing to be functional and safe.
Before any type of planning can begin, you will need to know the expected capacity of your building along with expected passenger waiting times, as these factors will impact your overall lift requirements. There are guidelines to refer to in order to calculate this, which take into consideration the building’s function, the number of occuants and how they are distributed throughout the building. For example, when there are more than 20 floors, a single grouping would not be ideal as it would result in long travel times and could easily become congested during busy times during the day.
The environment that your lift is going to be installed will need to be assessed to help your installer decide on the best way not only to fit your lift, but which design will suit your requirements best. Aspects ranging from how many floors the lift must service to how much weight it has to bear must be considered when evaluating the proposed space.
 Peak times
Peak times and high traffic locations must be considered. A restaurant on the first floor may cause serious congestion during the lunchtime rush, and your lift will not travel much further than the first floor because it will be transporting hungry passengers. Similarly, you could experience problems in the morning as people arrive, and maybe stop to get their breakfast and morning coffee. To avoid these issues, consider locating the central food hub on the ground floor, or if you can, create a dining areas at the top of your building; you could then consider having a separate lift systems to take passengers directly to the restaurant.
This is perhaps one of the most important issues to consider. The lift should be able to bear the weight of people when at maximum capacity, and needs to be fitted with a functioning alarm system that can be used if the lift were to break down.
In the UK, lifts installed to be used by people in the workplace are subject to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
The business (duty holder) is legally responsible for ensuring that the lift is examined and is safe to use. In addition to routine maintenance, detailed and thorough examinations of the lift need to be carried out regularly by a competent person.
While safety is paramount when planning to instal a lift, a good installation should also focus on the aesthetics of the lift. If your lift is being installed in a new, modern office or another more refined environment, it is important that it ties in with the overall design and décor of the building. However, bear in mind that as much as scenic, glass lifts look attractive, the more complicated the lift design, the more complicated it will be to maintain. Scenic lifts generally work best in low rise buildings or in collaboration with standard passenger lifts and escalators.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Access and inclusion in the built environment: policy and guidance.
- Access consultant.
- Approved document M.
- Changing lifestyles.
- Fire and rescue service.
- Firefighting lift.
- Inclusive design.
- Lifts for office buildings.
- Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).
- Non-discriminatory building design.
- Shanghai Tower.
Featured articles and news
Highlighting the health benefits of home improvement.
Pavilions for music, entertainment, and leisure. Book review.
Broadening our understanding of Dublin’s chequered social history.
The charm of London's Cabmen's shelters.
Future Weather Files research tool looking for feedback.
Exploring the Colour Rendering Index.
Why it's important to find out what went wrong.
ECA reviews the shape of the construction job market.
Why proper room acoustics make a difference.
Initiative puts gas networks on the path to net zero.
WICE Woman Architectural Technologist of the Year 2019.
Traditional low-energy approaches to comfort.
Revisiting the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Ashford.
USA In-Use Version 6 is now available.
The rise of architectural barbarism.
In contentious political contexts heritage can be more fractious.
Civil engineering and the digital transformation.